Welcoming the Hunters

Yesterday I could hear the neighbour’s dog barking and, when I went to investigate, found a young fox on our side of the fence.   The dog could smell him through the fence and was going beserk but, although the fox was obviously stressed, he couldn’t seem to get up and move away.  By dragging himself along, the fox managed to move behind a sort of lean- to shed we have at that end of the garden.  I could see that he couldn’t stand up or walk and his back legs looked useless.  After years of watching Pet Rescue on T.V. when the girls were small, where the R.S.P.C.A. (Royal Society for the Protection of Animals) come to the aid of domestic, farm and wild animals, I know they would have been the first place I would have called had I been in the U.K. but I am in France.  There are some small local refuges and the S.P.A. (Société  pour le Protection des Animaux ) which do an amazing job but they are not on the scale of the R.S.P.C.A.

Seeing the fox suffering and knowing that midday was fast approaching (when my part of France closes down for two hours while everybody has lunch) I started panicking and wondering who to call for help.  The neighbours suggested I phone the pompiers (an emergency service sort of like the fire department) but I thought I’d start with my vet who has just had yet another exotic overseas holiday which I’m pretty sure was financed mainly by the amount of euros I shovel into her account because I’ve got so many animals.

She told me to phone La Fédération des Chasseurs (aka the hunting federation) in the nearest big town.

The Hunting Federation told me to phone the emergency services.

The emergency services told me to phone the animal shelter.

The animal shelter told me to try to get the fox into a basket and to a vet (fair enough but there are rabies in these here parts and I’m not a trained animal handler)

The vet (a different one this time) asked me if I knew any hunters.  If not, I should phone the Mayor (every small village should have one and, in France, they do)

The Mayor told me to phone a hunter from the village.

By this time, I was so distraught as the little fox had given up trying to drag himself about and was just lying there panting.  My dogs were desperate to go out in the garden but I didn’t want to let them out in case they got through to the fox.

I couldn’t believe it! Absolutely nobody seemed to want to help me. I was particularly furious with the Hunting Federation as, from September to February,  they will be up on the ridge at the top of our land shooting anything that moves and yet they wouldn’t come out to trap an injured animal or put it out of  its suffering.  None of the vets I spoke to were interested in coming out and I got the impression they wouldn’t have been too delighted if I turned up with an injured fox in a basket either.

I had no choice.  I phoned a hunter from the village.  Two turned up.  They took a look at the fox and said it would be better to shoot him.  I asked them to aim well and they assured me he wouldn’t suffer.  I ran inside and blocked up my ears.  Apparently, both his back legs had been broken.  I had a good cry.

I suspect one of my dogs may well have had something to do with it as he was chasing something when we were out walking the day before.  I tell myself that, at least, the poor fox had managed to drag himself somewhere I would notice him (we have a very large garden and some of it is overgrown and not really used) because, if I hadn’t, he would probably have died slowly of thirst and hunger.

Before I moved from the U.K., I tried to support the R.S.P.C.A.  in many different ways and our lovely german shepherd, Phoebe, was adopted from them as a pup.  I really needed them yesterday.  I know they  get some flak sometimes but I would like to believe they would have helped me.

 I would have preferred it if something could have been done for the fox and I am opposed to hunting, especially with dogs, but, on this occasion, I was just so grateful to the two chasseurs who came to my rescue and relieved the suffering when nobody else would.

p.s. I might think about changing to a different vet!

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  1. #1 by Jan Marriott on August 22, 2012 - 20:43

    Oh dear, what a horrible experience, for you and the fox.

  2. #2 by wendy on August 22, 2012 - 21:19

    I’d have been terribly upset – we love the foxes that come into our garden. In fact we started the habit of putting out food last year when we noticed ‘our’ fox had been injured and was limping. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to forage properly.

    Terrible that you had to go through such a mission to get it sorted – people can be so blinking heartless sometimes!

  3. #3 by handmadebytracie on August 23, 2012 - 02:31

    Oh my gosh, what a sad experience! I’m glad you and the fox found some sort of relief in the end, even if it wasn’t the desired outcome.

  4. #4 by wendy on August 26, 2012 - 10:38

    Just to let you know you won the buttons in my giveaway – could I have a postal address please? Ta. 🙂

  5. #5 by Houdini on September 18, 2012 - 21:35

    Awww bless ya. What a terrible experience – well done for not giving up though…unlike everyone else you called!

  6. #6 by Trishia Jacobs on November 28, 2012 - 19:33

    Lynn, I just posted several links to your shops and to your blog on my Facebook FrenchKissed page:) This is a heart-wrenching story, indeed. But I appreciate you sharing a ‘real’ look at living in France.

    • #7 by tialys on November 28, 2012 - 20:43

      Thanks Trishia. I have made some gorgeous Christmas cards with your delightful digital images. Last year I made some using photographs of my dogs in various Christmas headgear or playing in the snow. Trouble is, I was so chuffed with them I didn’t want to send them out. I must remember to keep a couple back this year although, of course, I will still have the digital file to play with.

  7. #8 by Rose H on February 25, 2013 - 04:31

    I’ve just been reading back through your posts.
    What an awful experience. That poor fox – you are quite right the RSPCA would certainly have helped. I’m glad that in the end the hunters put it out of pain, though like you I’m against hunting.

  8. #9 by sew2pro on June 14, 2013 - 19:51

    Oh, this must have been so upsetting. Foxes have such hard lives.

    Last summer, a young duck flew into my window and was unable to pick himself up. The first place I called, my vet, asked me to bring him in and he put him to sleep very quickly when he realized the injury was too serious to fix. It was sad but a relief that he didn’t have prolonged suffering 😦

  9. #10 by tialys on June 14, 2013 - 20:07

    I think it’s great that you found somebody to help so quickly because often, with wild animals, it is usually a case of lessening the suffering rather than a full recovery. Ducks are funny and can play tricks to help them survive. I remember my old golden retriever caught a duck once and we thought she had killed it – as did she. She dropped it and carried on walking with us and, when we looked back, it jumped up and ran (waddled) off.

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